QC makes student drug tests a must
The Quezon City government has passed an ordinance mandating random drug tests for public school students in high school and college.
Ordinance No. Sp-2615, S-2017 was signed into law by Mayor Herbert Bautista on Oct. 3, a month after it was passed by the city council on third and final reading.
The city government initially earmarked a budget of P4 million for the student drug testing program, which is set to be implemented within 90 days after its implementing guidelines are crafted.
The city government, taking its cue from the Dangerous Drugs Board, views illegal drug consumption as “entirely a health issue,” according to the ordinance.
Random drug tests of students in secondary and tertiary schools “is not only acceptable but may even be necessary” for the safety and interest of the student population, until a more effective method is conceptualized, the ordinance stated.
Republic Act 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, mandates random drug testing for secondary and tertiary schools.
Last August, the Department of Educa- tion released guidelines directing all public and private schools to conduct random drug testing on high school students.
CHED also earlier directed all higher education institutions to conduct regular random drug testing as required by RA 9165.
Under the ordinance, only laboratories accredited by the Department of Health (DOH) would be authorized to conduct random drug tests for students of public secondary, tertiary, vocational and technical schools.
A student who initially tests positive for drug use would be subjected to a confirmatory test before the results are transmitted to the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council and the school coordinator.
Students and their parents will be presented options for treatment and rehabilitation after their drug dependency evaluation, after which they may choose to enroll in private or government rehabilitation facilities.
If the student fails to shows signs of improvement following the prescribed intervention program, he or she will be referred to a DOH-accredited facility for another round of counselling suited to his or her level of dependency.
If the student tests positive for drugs again, the school shall proceed in accordance with Section 61 of RA 9165, which mandates the compulsory confinement of a drug dependent who refuses to apply under the voluntary submission program.
The same compulsory confinement could also be meted if the parents of the student refuse to act on the drug test results.
Drug test results cannot be used as grounds for expulsion or disciplinary action and will not be reflected in any academic record, according to the ordinance.
The rests cannot be used to incriminate the student for legal action which could entail administrative, civil or criminal liabilities or as evidence in any court or tribunal where the student stands accused of other crimes or felony, the ordinance read.
If a student refuses to undergo drug testing, he or she shall be dealt with according to the rules of the school, but this would not mean the presumption of drug use or dependency, according to the ordinance.